0071: Teaching as an Act of #Freedom vs. the Existential Crisis
#teaching #rebellion #revolution #ows
I entitled one of my previous posts “Testing, the Existential Crisis, and Hope in #Rebellion”, but did not devote much, if any time, to defining said existential crisis. I could have even been so brazen to include “existential crisis” as a means of making my title more interesting while menially discussing any sort of crisis that teachers experience. So, I intend to delve into the existential crisis that I associate with teaching now.
Teaching is a process of helping others learn. Or maybe helping others learn to learn. I think that’s a pretty good definition of what really teaching is, regardless of the institutional, and pejorative, definition, which is to train or prepare for a test. And, therein lies the crux of the so called existential crisis. There is a tremendous difference between what teaching is and what it should be. We should be focused on helping children learn to learn, learn to read, learn to think, and so forth. Unfortunately, those verbs, to read, to write, to learn, to think, have been severely bastardized. Those words have been reduced to terms defined by the assessments that measure them.
Teaching now involves looking over your shoulder. Teachers are waiting for the axe to fall. We’re too busy “managing” our classrooms, making sure we are en pointe with the pacing guide, and anticipating the tests, instead of stimulating and nurturing the curiosity of our students. We work each day for a score. We fight to work for our students, but we can’t stay if our scores aren’t high enough. Schools suffer, teachers suffer, students suffer. Society is suffering. Teaching requires doublethink now. It’s never been an easy task to teach students to read, write, learn to learn, and so forth. Now we are pretending to do these things. We are teaching to a test and our students aren’t learning. Scores may say they are, but a test doesn’t say who thrives because they can think and reason, it just says they can bubble correctly, and maybe outsmart the test creators. Real teaching requires a blind eye to the consequences of really teaching. Real teachers teach. They help students uncover their own consciousness. They build thinkers. They rebel. They don’t worry so much about the test scores as they do their students. They know there is a time for every purpose under heaven, and are mindful of a balance between walking the line and out-right rebellion. They live to fight another day in the corrupt system, but they are ever aware of the corruption that surrounds them. I am growing tired from the box I am in as a teacher. I know I do some good, but it is with great struggle. When I am a good teacher I am the least involved; that is, I am flowing along the waves of my students’ curiosity. My moments of excellence have not involved the prescribed curriculum. They’ve involved moments when my students and I shared moments of humanity.
The crisis is constant. Apathy is tempting, but as long as teachers fight to teach, as long as teachers are radical true learning will take place. And if that ceases then students will not comply. People are free, they just have to discover that. Perhaps the best thing we teachers can do is model the struggle for freedom— in and out of the classroom. Teaching, true teaching, is an act of freedom.
- educatedtodeath posted this